I agree on the harshness.
sandra you often speak as though you know people better than they know themselves.
Try to not flip out on me here.
This is a very interesting topic but I'm kind of on the sidelines because it all is based on the premise that the Bible was inerrantly transcribed by the prophets and what not of the old times. This is something I don't believe in as you all know. In fact, it's how I see that the God of the OT and NT could easily
be the same God in that the anthropomorphism of God (and other things which I won't mention) of the OT is a mistake. "Vengeance is mine" comes to mind as an example of a mistaken translation of what was received into human terms. I do believe God is peace, love, bliss, and nothing else such as a punisher. Vengeance is not an act of love, though one could try to rationalize it by calling it tough love which I think has too much of a human spin on it.
I would like to think that our behavioral patterns greatly influence the extent to which we are blessed with grace from God. Thoughts as well as acts are behavioral patterns. What's written on our souls, the very essence of who we are, is known by God and influences the level of grace, imo.
I also have a dim view on those who say that anything outside the Biblical box is poison. I can understand why someone would think that about things that directly contradict the Bible as being poison (potentially) but things that are not inconsistent with the Bible are not necessarily poison. Again, my opinion.
IN fact, I think some aspects of the OT are poison. But that's what you'd expect from a pagan/infidel.